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February 11, 2013
Looper Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
27/9/201225/1/2013Village RoadshowRian Johnson
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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Old Joe and Young Joe in Looper.

Despite a few lean years for Bruce Willis he is still an actor who pumps out plenty of films and on occasion, some quality releases. Looper - released in late 2012 is a film which seemed to pass many by pretty quietly (although it took a very respectable $US166 million at the box office worldwide). The film is now available on Blu-Ray and, as a fan of Bruce Willis, we were keen to check the film out.

Looper is an interesting tale that involves two time periods, time travel and plenty of action. In 2072 time travel has been invented, but outlawed by governments meaning the only people using it are those in the black market and one of the biggest customers is the mob who send people back in time when they want to "solve a problem". In 2044 a "looper", or hired gun, will be waiting to execute those sent back. One such looper is Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) but when the mob decides to "close the loop" - they send back Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination with a golden payday. But can young Joe "close the loop"? If he doesn't he is committing the ultimate sin in the business.

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Time to execute someone from the future.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson (whose only other feature films are the apparently impressive The Brothers Bloom and Brick) this film is filled with a fantastic cast including Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels. As we've seen recently with the horrible Movie 43 a stellar cast means nothing if the script isn't up to scratch and Rian has created one of the most unique, riveting and interesting storylines we've seen in quite some time (well, ok, Safety Not Guaranteed which we reviewed last week is stellar too), but this film succeeds on so many levels in a genre (action/sci-fi) that rarely puts the script ahead of the action.

As any admirer of film would know time travel movies can often be a mess often throwing up more questions than answers - even Austin Powers managed to quip about the complexity of time travel before giving up and telling the audience to just enjoy the ride - but Looper handles time travel as well as any other film we have ever seen. There are also some moments of violence in the film - often somewhat excessively - but that's why the film is rated MA15+ here in Australia.

Fortunately acting across the board is superb too with Jeff Daniels as Abe, Emily Blunt as Sara and Paul Dano as fellow looper Seth. All the actors portray unique and interesting characters who you just can't take your eyes off. Without doubt though this film is carried by Bruce Willis who is, well, Bruce Willis, but more importantly Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been given makeup to look like Bruce, but more importantly has got Bruce's mannerism's down pat - from the gruff voice, to that certain look he gives people. The similarities, at times, are uncanny.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the young Joe.
Looper is one of the more unique films released in 2012, and more importantly is a film that only seems to improve with repeat viewings. The cast is fantastic, and the script excellent which makes this a release well worth checking out.

Looper is a gorgeous film to look at on Blu-Ray with a stunning AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer presented in the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Colours in the film are fairly muted which gives it a realistic, and slightly futuristic look in a world where things aren't are pristine as we have seen in some other "futuristic" film. There isn't a lot popping off the screen but there are occasional explosions, key people or lens flares which provide moments of brilliant colour in stark contrast to the rest of the film.

Like most major releases on Blu-Ray Looper is presented with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track which really allows the audio to shine. Surround sound channels are given plenty to do during the many action scenes while the dialogue is always clear - although at times seemed a little quiet compared to some of the other music and effects in the film. Overall though this is a superb film sonically.

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Looper can certainly be violent at times.
Besides the primary lossless audio track the only other audio option is an Audio Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired which is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192kbps. While disappointingly lacking surround sound it will get the job done if required. A single subtitle track is provided - Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired and like the audio will get the job done suitably.

The Looper Blu-Ray disc includes several impressive extras and is well worth checking. The main disappointment lies in the fact the disc lacks a really in-depth "Making Of" documentary.

Audio Commentary: This audio commentary features writer/director Rian Johnson, and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt with the latter jumping into the commentary about 8 minutes in. It's quite a lively commentary which is continuous, has some great stories about the production, details more of the story and has more laughs along the way.

Animated Trailer (1:33/HD): This is a very cool animated trailer for the film which is definitely worth a look. Can see why it wouldn't be used to sell the film - its too abstract, but gorgeous.

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Emily Blunt is great as Sara in Looper.
The Two Joes (4:45/HD): This is a pretty good featurette which shows how they turned Joseph Gordon-Levitt into a younger version of Bruce Willis including the 3 hours of makeup and prosthetics, as well as capturing Bruce's mannerisms for the film.

Deleted Scenes (38:22/HD): Playable with or without directors commentary there is an extensive number of deleted scenes presented here. Some of them are just filler and justifiably cut, however many of these scenes could have been re-inserted for an extended version (although at almost 2 hours it's already an decent length film. Unfortunately the scenes aren't splt into seperate chapters so you can't skip them and while the video quality is superb, the audio is only 2-channel Dolby Digital. Scenes include "Abe Gathers The Troops", "Canady and Kid Blue", "China Sequence Original Cut", "Club Entrance Original Cut", "Evening Lessons", "Gat in a Steel Box", "It's Not Joe", "Jesse Searches The Laundry", "Kid Blue Boy Detective". "Kid Blue Escapes", "Kid Blue Sees Joe Rejected", "Meet Daniel", "Old Joe Can't Stop", "Old Joe Confronts Suzie", "Old Seth Original Cut", "Outside The Belle & Cruising The Streets", "Pawn Shop and Belle Revisited", "Sara Decides Not To Dump Joe", "Sara Walks To The Field", "Sneaking Into The Belle", "Straws and Salt", and "Suzie Never Wants To See Joe Again".

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Jeff Daniels as Abe, a vastly different role to that in Dumb & Dumber.
The Making Of Looper (19:39/HD): A little more lightweight then we were hoping, or expected, this remains a decent look at the creation of the film. It's split up into three parts including "The Future From The Beginning" (7:51), "The Science of Time Travel" (8:30) and "New Future Old School" (3:18).

The Scoring Of Looper (16:12/HD): Composer Nathan Johnson walks us through the process he went through to create the music for the film. Quite interesting and deserving attention to an often overlooked area of filmmaking (in terms of content on Blu-Rays).

Looper is a fantastic film with a fantastic storyline, great cast, and superb acting. It's not quite as "mind bending" as something like Inception, and that may please some people. The audio visual transfer is superb and there are some decent extras making this a disc worth picking up.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.